Oakland A's MLN: Alumni Report

Every year, players come and go out of the Oakland A's organization. We like to check-in with former A's farmhands on a periodic basis to see how they are faring. Inside, we take a look at the 2009 seasons for a number of former A's prospects...

Dan Meyer: The prize of the Tim Hudson trade, Meyer was designated for assignment by the A's during the off-season and claimed off of waivers by the Florida Marlins. He made the Marlins Opening Day roster as a reliever and has been one of their most reliable bullpen arms this season. He has appeared in 66 games, posting a 2.96 ERA and a 1.13 WHIP in 54.2 innings. He has 52 strike-outs against 18 walks and has saved two games and won three.

John Baker: Baker, the A's fourth round choice in 2002, was traded by Oakland to the Florida Marlins before the start of the 2007 season. He made his big league debut with the Marlins in 2008 and impressed, hitting .299/.392/.447 in 61 games. Baker has been the Marlins' regular catcher against right-handed pitchers in 2009, appearing in 106 games. He has a .268/.348/.415 line with nine homers and 49 RBIs in 354 at-bats this season.

Sean Gallagher: Gallagher, acquired last season from the Cubs in the Rich Harden deal, was on the A's Opening Day roster, but he made only six appearances (two starts) for the A's before being sent to Triple-A Sacramento. He made five strong starts for the River Cats (1.74 ERA in 20.2 innings) but was then sidelined with a knee injury. While still out with that knee injury, Gallagher was traded to the San Diego Padres as part of the package that landed Oakland Scott Hairston. Gallagher continued his rehab with the Padres' Triple-A squad in Portland, returning to the mound on September 4th, when he allowed three runs in one inning. He was a September call-up for San Diego and has been pitching out of the Padres' bullpen this month. In seven games, he has pitched five innings, allowing five hits and five walks, but no runs. He has struck-out three and won two games. Gallagher is expected to compete for a starting rotation spot in San Diego next season.

Ryan Webb: Webb was also a part of the package sent by Oakland to San Diego for Hairston. The A's 2004 fourth round pick began the year as a starter with Sacramento, but he was moved into the bullpen in April and pitched much better out of that role, seeing his velocity rise from 92-94 to 94-97. Since the trade, Webb has spent most of his time pitching in San Diego's bullpen (he made three appearances for Triple-A Portland). In his first big league action, Webb has pitched well, posting a 3.91 ERA in 23 innings. He has allowed 24 hits and 11 walks, but has struck-out 18 and won his only decision.

Craig Italiano: Italiano was the third part of the Hairston package. Like Webb and Gallagher, he made the switch from starter to reliever this season. For Italiano, the switch came after the trade was made. Before the deal, Italiano was 5-6 with a 5.63 ERA as a starter for High-A Stockton. He stayed in the California League after the trade, pitching for the Lake Elsinore Storm out of their bullpen. In 31.1 innings, the hard-throwing right-hander posted a sparkling 1.44 ERA. He allowed 24 hits and 10 walks and he struck-out 44.

Brooks Conrad: Conrad made his major league debut with Oakland last season and led the Sacramento River Cats in a number of offensive categories. For 2009, he signed as a minor league free agent with the Atlanta Braves. He spent most of the year at Triple-A Gwinnett, where he hit .269/.358/.422 with 12 homers and 64 RBIs. He has also seen some extended time with the Braves, appearing in 25 games. In 48 at-bats, he is hitting .229/.288/.458 with two homers and eight RBIs.

Wes Bankston: Bankston was another key cog in the 2008 River Cats' line-up and he also made his big league debut with Oakland last season. This year, he was in the Cincinnati chain, where he spent the year with Triple-A Louisville. In 122 games for the Bats, he hit .267/.313/.449 with 17 homers and 75 RBIs.

Kevin Melillo: Melillo was traded by the A's to Toronto in June of last season and spent the rest of that year with Triple-A Syracuse. In 2009, he was in the Milwaukee Brewers organization, where he spent the season in Double-A with Huntsville. In 113 games, Melillo hit .249/.344/.392 with nine homers and 52 RBIs. He didn't play after August 19th when he landed on the disabled list with an injured elbow. Melillo has struggled with injuries since 2007, when he hurt his left wrist.

Brian Stavisky: Stavisky was one of the A's 2002 draft picks. The outfielder/first-baseman from Notre Dame played in the Texas chain last season and he landed with his hometown team, the Philadelphia Phillies, in 2009. In 118 games at Double-A Reading, Stavisky hit .279/.377/.454 with 11 homers and 66 RBIs.

Patrick Currin: Currin, the A's 22nd round pick in 2006, was released by Oakland during the season after he had appeared in 21 games and had posted a 4.93 ERA in 38.1 innings for the Stockton Ports. He quickly landed in the Atlanta Braves organization and spent the rest of the year in the Carolina League with High-A Myrtle Beach. Currin pitched well for the Pelicans, posting a 3.28 ERA and striking out 20 in 24.2 innings.

Scot Drucker: Drucker, the A's 13th round pick in 2004, was released by Oakland during last year's spring training after missing the entire 2007 season with a labrum injury. He spent the first half of 2008 in the independent leagues, but signed on with the Detroit Tigers late in the year. Drucker appeared in nine games for Double-A Erie of the Eastern League and impressed the Tigers' brass. He spent all of the 2009 season at Triple-A Toledo, pitching mostly in the Mud Hens' starting rotation. In 113 innings, he posted an 8-3 record and a 4.78 ERA with 77 strike-outs and 38 walks. Drucker will be busy this off-season. He was recently added to the Arizona Fall League and after that season is over he will be participating in winter ball in Puerto Rico.

Jesus Guzman: Guzman won the Texas League batting title with the Double-A Midland Rockhounds last season. The A's tried to re-sign the minor league free agent, but lost out to the San Francisco Giants, who gave him an invite to major league spring training. He starred for the Giants in spring training and then hit well for Triple-A Fresno, batting .321/.379/.507 with 16 homers in 115 games. Guzman was added to the Giants' 40-man roster during the season and is currently with the Giants. He has struggled in limited big league action, however, collecting three hits in 18 at-bats. He has moved from third base (where he played with the A's) to first base with San Francisco.

Danny Putnam: Putnam, a supplemental first-round pick of the A's in 2004, was traded to San Diego in June on the same day the A's made the Hairston deal (although it was a separate transaction). Before the trade, Putnam had split the season between Double-A Midland (where he hit .301/.381/.528) and Triple-A Sacramento (.245/.292/.364). With San Diego, he spent the rest of the season with Triple-A Portland, where he hit .249/.349/.444 with six homers and 34 RBIs in 54 games. In total, he hit 17 homers in 2009, one better than his total of 16 in 2008.

James Heuser: Heuser was a big part of the Stockton Ports' 2008 California League championship season. The lefty was promoted to Double-A in 2009, but struggled with Midland and was released by the A's after posting a 6.03 ERA in 37.1 innings. He spent the rest of the season playing for the Lancaster Barnstormers of the independent leagues and he pitched well, posting a 1.84 ERA with 20 strike-outs in 14.2 innings, all in relief.

Jed Morris: Morris was a teammate of Heuser's early in the year in 2008 with Stockton and was a teammate of his again with Lancaster in 2009. Morris, who beat leukemia during his time with Oakland, was the Barnstormers' primary catcher this season. In 102 games, he hit .249/.332/.385 with nine homers and 46 RBIs.

Lloyd Turner: Turner, a longtime A's farmhand, also spent the 2009 season with Lancaster. The utilityman hit .281/.398/.427 with 11 homers and 31 stolen bases.

Matt Watson: Watson, the former A's and River Cats outfielder, left the A's organization in May of 2006 to play professionally in Japan. After one season in the JPL, Watson returned to the States in 2008 and appeared in 76 games for the Blue Jays' Triple-A affiliate in Syracuse. He decided to give Asia another shot at the start of 2009, signing with the Doosan Bears of the Korean Baseball Organization. He returned to the States during the season and signed with the Mets, but was released after only 10 games. He then signed with Lancaster, appearing in 66 games for the Barnstormers. He hit .269/.378/.440 with eight homers in 234 at-bats for Lancaster.

Ben Fritz: Another A's alumnus on the Lancaster roster is Fritz, who was a first round pick of Oakland in 2002. The right-handed pitcher struggled with injuries while in the A's chain. He was in the Detroit chain in 2008, but was released mid-season and landed with Lancaster, where he had a 4.39 ERA in 53.1 innings. He remained with Lancaster in 2009, making 25 starts for the Barnstormers and posting a 4.04 ERA with 92 strike-outs in 142.2 innings.

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